Scholarly Activity

School of Medicine Scholarly Activity Guidelines

The School of Medicine integrated curriculum includes a Scholarly Activity opportunity. The purpose of the Scholarly Activity is to promote medical students' independent investigation through the different phases of medical education, and to provide students an opportunity to define themselves through a portfolio of investigative experiences. The choice of a Scholarly Activity research project is to be selected based on each individual student's interests.

Scholarly Activity Goals

UUSOM Competency

To find and follow a passion that helps distinguish you throughout medical school and beyond.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement 1: Identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one's knowledge and expertise

To individually develop expertise in one or more areas of medicine.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement 2: Set learning and improvement goals; and 3: Identify and perform learning activities that address one's gaps in knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes

To perform inquiry-based research and develop your ability to ask research questions.

Knowledge for Practice 6: Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of new health care knowledge and practices

To effectively communicate the rationale for and results of your scholarly activity.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills 3: Communicate effectively with colleagues within one's profession or specialty, other health professionals, and health related agencies


  1. Define one or more questions that guide your research.
  2. Work on a health care related project that includes a research component and leads to creation of new or markedly improved knowledge (scientific, clinical or educational) or innovation (clinical device, computer program, therapy or treatment approach).
  3. Present the rationale and results of your research to others.
  4. Effectively answer questions about your research.

Areas in which Scholarly Activity projects may be conducted

  1. Clinical
  2. Clinical Device
  3. Computer Program
  4. Education
  5. Innovation
  6. Laboratory
  7. Public Health
  8. Quality Improvement
  9. Therapy or treatment approach


1. Identify a focus for your research; consider which areas of medicine most interest you

2. Identify a project mentor; your mentor can be anyone who has the expertise and skills to guide you in completing your project; your mentor does not have to be a UU Health Sciences faculty member.

The following information is available in the resources section of your class’s scholarly activity course in Canvas:

  • Summer, academic year and year-long programs that provide research opportunities
  • Resources for identifying potential faculty mentors
  • Questions to discuss with potential mentors
  • FAQs

Your project should include:

  • Identifying a research question
  • Reading background information related to your project
  • Gathering data; for example, conducting experiments or surveys, or extracting data from databases
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data you have collected

See the Proposal assignment in Canvas for the template to use for your proposal.

3. Complete your project with your mentor.

4. Present your project in one of the following ways. The objective is for you to prepare your research for presentation to others and to respond to questions about your research.

  • Give an oral or poster presentation at a scholarly venue (you must be the presenter); all students are welcome to present a poster at the Medical Student Scholarly Activity Symposium, held each year in April.
  • Be the first or second author listed on a published paper or manuscript accepted for publication.
  • See the presentation assignment in Canvas for instructions for documenting your presentation.

5. Submit a draft of a short paragraph summarizing your research for the Scholarly Activity section of your MSPE letter. See the MSPE Paragraph assignment in Canvas for the template to use for this paragraph.

Earning Elective Credit for the Scholarly Activity Requirement

Students may register for and receive elective credit for their Scholarly Activity research. Some departments or divisions offer research credit. This credit may be available to students in any year of medical school or only for MSIV students. Check with your faculty mentor’s department or division to find out if research credit is offered. 


Programs That Support Student Research and Innovation

 The following programs provide opportunities that can be used to fulfill the Scholarly Activity requirement. 

Programs at the University of Utah

Medical Student Research Program 

Thie program is a 10-week summer research program between MS1 and MS2 that provides a stipend for participating students. It is funded by NIH T35 grants; supports projects related to:

MD/PhD Program 

Bench-to-Bedside competition

Global Health Initiative

American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Summer Research Scholarship; contact Dr. David Renner

Medical Student Training in Aging Research; contact Dr. Mark Supiano

Public Health; contact Dr. Jessica Greenwood

Programs at Other Institutions

Summer research programs 

9-12 month research programs

UUSOM Past Research Projects Database


Louisa A. Stark, PhD

Chair, Scholarly Activity Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee

Nile Checketts

Academic Program Coordinator


For any further questions please contact:

Kerri Shaffer
Director of Curriculum and Faculty Support